Thursday, October 25, 2018

Peru: Two Days in Cusco

After our spiritual experience at Machu Picchu we took the train to Olly and then a taxi to our apartment in Cusco to spend the next two days in Cusco. It was Easter that weekend and we had heard that Cusco is a riotous place for Easter with parades and a lot of fanfare. The excitement typically happens the week beforehand while actual Easter weekend was more subdued and spiritual.

Our pace in Cusco enabled a lot of meandering, shopping and eating. And, of course, Incan ruins.

We relaxed/recovered in the morning before taking a taxi to the ruins of Sacsayhuamán or affectionately called Sexy Woman for those who can't nail the accent (never could).

Sacsayhuamán is considered the most important Inca monument after Machu Picchu. It was thought to be a religious complex during Inca times. However, it is only a fraction of the size of what it was before the Spanish hauled off some of the blocks as building materials. Created in 1440, the massive stones are jigsawed together. The stones are so large and the placing together so intricate that some people believe the only answer is: aliens. I didn't get the extraterrestrial vibe but who knows?

We spent time exploring the complex (which is huge- it is hard to describe) before heading on to a little adventure.

After you have wandered among the ancient stones and debated about the role of intergalactic beings, you will hear shrieks of joy from adults and children on the upper edge of the complex. Hidden on the other side of a hill is a natural rock slide. Run smooth from all of the sliding, you can definitely pick up speed!
Not just for kids.

It was delightfully unexpected to pretend to be a kid again in Cusco. Do we thank the aliens? We'll never know...
Plaza de Armas from above
We saved our soles and walked instead of a taxi back to Cusco proper. En route we stopped by Cristo Blanco, the smaller version of Christ the Redeemer, which happened to have an incredible view of the orange-roofed Cusco. Worth it for the view.

The viewpoint is conveniently located above the popular and delightful San Blas neighborhood filled with winding streets and cute shops to explore. It is the kind of neighborhood made for meandering. A market outside of the San Blas temple had beautiful artwork and jewelry.  

We continued our wandering until the lighting of the Easter candle at Catedral at the head of the Plaza de Armas. Inside of the catedral is a pretty awesome version of the Last Supper. One that has the apostles dining on Peruvian delights such as guinea pig and chicha. Because of the Easter festivities it was hard to angle to get a photo. However, we did gawk a bit at the stunning Catedral. 

Day 2 in Cusco

Plaza de Armas is just as gorgeous during the day as it is at night.

Incan awesome-ness in one 12-angled stone
We swung by another famous Cuscoan site that we easily missed yesterday. If you do not know what you're looking for and there isn't a crowd (there usually is), you might miss the famous Twelve Angled Stone in between San Blas Temple and the Plaza de Armas. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering through markets (Cusco is perfect for wandering). We ventured into the indoor San Pedro Market for smoothies and other trinkets and found an outdoor food market for all sorts of Peruvian snacks (we skipped the cuy). 

We spent the late afternoon at the beautiful Sun Temple or Qorikancha. It was built to honor the Sun and used to be covered in gold (Qorikancha means "Court of Gold"). The gold is long gone (pried off by the Spanish Conquistadors) so all that is left is stunning stone work.

We finished off the day with dinner at a darling restaurant and a cultural show (on the Boleto Turistico) that went on far too long....

Cusco, dear friend, we enjoyed you very much!

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